Catanduanes hydro power project gets ERC nod

VIRAC, Catanduanes—Despite Gov. Joseph Cua’s opposition, the proposed P729 million hydropower plant project of the Sunwest Water and Power Co. Inc. (SUWECO) would finally see implementation after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had given its go signal to the controversial project.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes flew to this island province Tuesday afternoon to supervise the groundbreaking ceremony of Solong hydropower plant project in San Miguel town. The ceremony was attended also by Governor Cua; Virac Bishop Manolo de los Santos, who personally endorsed the project before the ERC and the Department of Energy; and several town mayors.

Reyes said the project will resolve the power outages which have affected the island province for decades, crippling economic activities here.

He said that the province would be a leader in providing sustainable energy through the hydropower plant project of businessman Zaldy Co, as the project would generate 8.5 megawatts of electricity.

“It will create job as well as promote tourism development,” he added.

Co told Bicol Mail that he started the project to prepare for the increasing demand for electricity that could result to gradual power shortages starting 2011.

With the approval of the hydropower plant project, the government would save P200 million a year aside from providing clean energy, employment, and income to the province.

Gov. Joseph Cua, however, reiterated his opposition to the hydropower plant project in his welcome message during the groundbreaking ceremony.

“I am not against the hydropower plant project. In fact I’m gladly welcoming projects like this one. We are after alternative and renewable sources of energy that will not compromise our environment,” he said. But he underscored that the rate should be lowered.

Cua said in his opposition paper filed before the ERC that the power purchase rate offered by SUWECO was grossly overpriced and violated existing laws.

But former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad assailed Cua who according to him was hell-bent in opposing the renewable-energy project because it would affect his (Cua) petroleum business.

Rep. Joseph Santiago in a statement read by his chief of staff said that while there had been so many intrigues and controversies surrounding the hydropower plant project, residents could now breathe a sigh of relief.

He said that the province will finally be free from escalating cost of electricity.

“The province is rich in natural resources as well as in skilled manpower. What basically hampers our development is the absence of cheap and reliable power supply. With this project, I am confident that another missing link in our province’s development has finally been resolved,” he added.

Mayor Lourdes Bernal of San Miguel town expressed appreciation for Zaldy Co for initiating a renewable energy project which, she said, would boost and uplift the living conditions in the far-flung areas here.

She said electrification through renewable energy would help the poor in the province amid the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products.

“This project preserves environmental balance aside from providing cheaper and sustainable energy source. Our province is oozing with water resource, hence the opportunity to tap this resource must be our utmost concern to avert the rising cost of crude oil,” she said.

Following rebel threats, the Philippine Army in Bicol assured to provide security to the management of SUWECO. Col. Ariel Bernardo, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade, told Bicol Mail that he already had deployed additional soldiers and militiamen.(BicolMail)

2 Responses to “Catanduanes hydro power project gets ERC nod”

  1. mrthawatch Says:

    I want to say thank you that you have made your
    web site very good to visit and also very helpful for many people.

  2. sneha jothi k Says:

    we are playning to start mini hydro project in kerala please give gaidance

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